C - Political Reform C00. POLITICAL REFORM

C05. Separating the Office of Attorney General from Public Prosecutor

PAKATAN HARAPAN PG43 May 10, 2018
Broken
Jun 2018

Malaysia has a new Attorney General! ...But what does he do?

AskLegal June 07, 2018

When you report an incident to the Malaysian police, what they need to do (in summary) is gather information, then file an investigation report with the Public Prosecutor (PP) - who is also known as the Attorney General (AG). You may have heard a lot about the AG and his Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPP) in news reports where a criminal was charged in court, but what do the AG and his DPPs actually do? Currently, Malaysia’s (new) Attorney General is veteran lawyer Tommy Thomas. So, how exactly can a person become the AG of Malaysia? Is it a job that anyone can apply for?

Info Article: What is the role of an AG?

Jun 2018

Tommy for AG: Lawyers say Pakatan hasn’t broken GE14 pledge with non-MP nominee

Malay Mail June 04, 2018

Barrister Tommy Thomas’ nomination to be the next Attorney General (AG) is fine even if he is not an MP as spelt out in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) election manifesto, lawyers and lawmakers said. National Human Rights Society chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the ruling coalition has yet to breach its electoral promise, which requires a change to the Federal Constitution that must first be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat. “Actually PH manifesto on AG requires a constitutional amendment. Until then the present position applies,” she posted on her Twitter account last night. News portal Malaysiakini had yesterday highlighted PH’s election manifesto, the 15th which had promised that “the AG shall be appointed from amongst the qualified members of Parliament, and he would become a minister who can continue the role as chief legal advisor to the government”.

Contacted for comment, Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching told Malay Mail that the government could not yet implement its legal reform pledge on the AG’s appointment as there were other urgent matters that needed to be straightened first. Foremost on the cards, she said, was public debate over Thomas’ suitability for the post as a non-Malay and non-Muslim, which were among the reasons given for Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V’s rejection of the government’s sole nomination.

PROMISE IN JEOPARDY OF BEING BROKEN

Jun 2018

Harapan possibly straying from manifesto in naming Thomas as AG

Malaysiakini June 03, 2018

The Pakatan Harapan government could be deviating from its pre-election manifesto yet again by naming veteran lawyer Tommy Thomas as its choice for attorney-general (AG).

Promise 15 of its manifesto reads, "The attorney general shall be appointed from amongst the qualified members of parliament, and he would become a minister who can continue the role as chief legal advisor to the government."

Promise is in-jeopardy

May 2018

Separating the Office of Attorney General from Public Prosecutor

PAKATAN HARAPAN May 10, 2018

The Attorney General is the principal legal adviser to the Government and this role should be preserved. But there is an inherent conflict of interest if the Attorney General also serves as the Public Prosecutor because the Government is like a “client” of the Attorney General. It is inappropriate for a lawyer to also hold the ultimate authority to determine whether his client should be prosecuted. Pakatan Harapan believes that it is best if the position of the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor are separated so that the conflict of interest can be removed. This is in line with the practice in many countries that adopt the Westminster system like Malaysia. The Pakatan Harapan Government will take immediate steps to separate these two roles. The Attorney General shall be appointed from amongst the qualified Members of Parliament, and he would become a Minister who can continue the role as chief legal advisor to the Government. The position of Public Prosecutor will be held by another independent individual who can act without partisan interest. The person will lead Malaysia’s Public Prosecutor Office, enjoying autonomy to exercise his prosecutorial powers.